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If Only Life Had Stadium Seating

It's been a hell of a summer hasn't it? Heat waves, deadly mosquito-born virus, threats of global annihilation by fire, flood, famine or war, and the vast and terrifying realization that our president is either an alien or an idiot. Thank god there was so much delightful fare to be had at the box office.

Who cares if prices have risen to what we used to pay for a dime bag? Ignore all those naysayers who demand film have such inconsequential vestiges like substance and plot. And 'Go To Hell!' all of you acting enthusiasts; we don't need acting in our movies. We have a myriad of special effects wizards to provide the distractions necessary to make Keaun Reeves intelligent, Tom Cruise talented and Nicole Kidman sexy.

Ah, yes! The blissful days of summer have come, but now they are almost over. Sadly with them go those fabulous behemoths of Hollywood, the Summer Blockbusters.

Due in equal parts to a lack of funds, an unwilling boyfriend, extreme laziness and multiple, successive, debilitating hangovers I was able to review only a fraction of movies that I wanted to this summer. So here, instead, I present to you, my fair-minded moviegoers, my highly anticipated summer movie wrap up: a look back at a season of blockbusters that have whiled away our summer and our lives two hours at a time.

Minority Report
An adaptation of the ever cheerful sci-fi legend Phillip K Dick's short story of the same name. Dick also wrote the original stories for Blade Runner, Total Recall and Imposter each presenting it's own up-beat, positive view of the living hell that will be the future. Not exactly blockbuster material, you say? Well, true enough. This explains why the movie did so poorly at the box office (relatively speaking). Spielberg is heralded as inventing the notion of the Summer Blockbuster back in 1975 with Jaws and it looks like he might be trying to re-invent it as something darker and a little more intelligent. Little does he realize that the monster he's created is bigger and stronger even than him. There are rules to the blockbuster, Steve, such as: it has to be sunny most of the time, children can only be killed if they come back to life, and your hero can never, ever be put into a coma. At least it towered over A.I. but then so did The Adventures of Pluto Nash

Poor Willem Dafoe. It's always a terrible tragedy to see an actor so completely outshine a movie that he ends up looking hammy and ruining the entire affair. If he had just not acted at all, and threw his lines down like everyone else in this movie it would have been at least passable. Sam Raimi stayed very true to the comic book, but didn't do anything beyond that, no doubt out of fear of incurring the wrath of the diabolical Stan Lee. He refused even to add any of his own brilliant campy style that makes his movies so enjoyable. Perhaps Ang Lee will have better luck with The Incredible Hulk or Darren Aronofsky with the next Batman.

The Country Bears, Like Mike, Juwana mann
These three movies hailed the most tortuous challenge of the summer. I couldn't bring myself to do it, perhaps one of you can. The task: first watch Like Mike, then immediately watch The Country Bears and then see Juwana mann right after that. Now, without resting, write a 30-page thesis on the three Shakespeare Comedies (or Tragedies) you feel these movies most closely mirror, and cite several examples of how these films outshine their theatrical predecessors.

Blood Work
I suppose it was about time that Clint Eastwood emerged from the retirement home to prove to us all that he's still alive, and that there's actually a stunt man out there who looks a lot like him.

So, how low can a J-lo go?
A J-lo sure can go down low.
But just how low is this down low ho?
Well she's lower than Joe…

Master of Disguise
Once you've seen The Country Bears, Like Mike and Juwana mann, you'll get extra credit if you write a follow up on The Master of Disguise.

Reign Of Fire
Christian Bale (the sexiest serial killer ever--American Psycho) teams up with Mathew McConaughey (The lamest serial killer ever--Frailty) to fight dragons in a post-apocalyptic future. This pair works together much better than the joining of the most realistic special effects I've seen in a long time with the most laughable and unbelievable resolution to a movie this year. Reign Of Fire tries to bundle everything up in a cute little package at the end. There is a very nice premise to this movie, but once you walk out it's just another boring summer flick.

The writing on the wall is horrific; Hollywood will not ever stop. Not until every last vestige of the things generation X holds dear has been absorbed, re-shaped, and profited on. Look out Fun-Dip! Stand aside View Master! Be very, very afraid Leggos, for you are all doomed. I hear Woodsy the Owl and Smokey The Bear have already signed a three-picture deal.

Lilo & Stitch
Now, we're not idiots. We all understand how Disney makes most of its money. But do they have to make a movie that is so obviously a vehicle for a stuffed animal and Burger King Kids Meal crossover? Can't they pull the wool over our eyes even a little bit? And doesn't it seem like they're getting a tad desperate for plot lines lately? Have we run out of fairy-tales for them to bastardize or something?

Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron
At least Disney isn't as desperate as Dreamworks. Get this! They've made a movie about a horse! A frigging horse! Can you imagine being the animators who had to draw this piece of crap? "Well we've got the horse running through the planes, running down the streams, running through the fields, running across the mountains, running into the valleys, and running along the shore. What else can we make the horse do?" And you wonder why there are so may weird pornographic inserts in kids cartoon movies (the curiously phallic towers on the poster for The little Mermaid and that creepy "All good children take their clothes off" thing in Aladdin, just to name a couple). These poor people who have to draw this dreck are driven off their gourd.

Men In Black II
It's nice to see a movie, which so deftly blend the notions of 'film as entertainment' with 'film as art.' Bravo! Bravo!

Who Is Cletis Tout
So what happened here? The way I figure it someone was idiotic enough to think that we really wanted to see a newer, lamer Pulp Fiction, with all the cool parts taken out and all the crappy parts heightened. This same terminal idiocy could explain how Christian Slater got the titular role.

Mike Meyers is so much better than this. At least I hope he is. Even a cavalcade of celebrity cameos is not enough Viagra to get this flaccid movie series going again. With Goldmember you find yourself actually pining for the Spy Who Shagged Me scenes of Powers drinking poo instead of coffee. I pray that this is the end of Austin Powers. Although Britney Spears as a Fem-Bot was truly inspired

Am I the only one who realizes that Vin Diesel is gay? I figured it would be obvious to a two-by-four, but there's no mention of it anywhere on the gossip sites, or in the zines. All you have to do is look at the signs. He has that slightly nasal voice, and an amazingly kind disposition, especially to all of those pansy talk show hosts he's being interviewed by. And any one who shaves his head, remains constantly tan and is ALWAYS super-buff simply has to be a fan of Aquaman.

Insomnia and 1 Hour Photo
Robin Williams has made quite a gambit in his film career. First he was a comic, then he was a coke head, then he was an actor, then he was probably a coke head again, then he was Disney's bitch for a while, then he was an actor again, and now he's an actor who only plays the totally insane. Stop fishing for another oscar, Robin, one is far more than you deserve!

K-19: The Widowmaker
Just because a whole mess of sailors died of radiation exposure does not mean we need to make a movie about it. Much like just because Harrison Ford is still handsome does not mean he can do a Russian accent.

Full Frontal
After a few weeks to calm down I don't hate this movie quite as much as I did. I still despise Steven Soderbergh, but Full Frontal has its place in the world. And it's good to see a movie out there that actually about the making of movies. We don't get nearly enough of those and Hollywood is just so damned interesting. I can hardly wait for the release of the DVD, that way I can watch all the extra footage and see the making of a movie about the making of a movie. Now that would totally blow my mind.

After two movies, M. Night Shyamalan continues to use the exact same character as his protagonist, namely the character that Bruce Willis always plays. The differences between The 6th Sense's Malcolm Crowe and Unbreakable's David Dunn are so subtle that they're non-existent. With Signs Shyamalan sticks close to his guns and gives us another film centered around this same stony-faced persona. The amazing thing is, Mel Gibson is better at playing Bruce Willis then Bruce Willis is.

Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones
This is just too easy. I've taken far too many shots at this movie over the summer, so I'll finally let it rest. I swear I'll stop dissing Star Wars, even though watching it was tat amount to riding the Cyclone while the person in front of you is suffering from a severe case of salmonella poisoning, causing not just explosive diarrhea, but also projectile vomiting.

So that's it for me. Another summer over. Now it's on to the mindless hell of costume dramas and psychological thrillers that is the impending Oscar Season. Back to movies where cars won't necessarily explode spontaneously, people will always die for a reason, and no one is trying to create a super-virus that will wipe out mankind. Back to movies where a man just might burst into tears over something as inconsequential as the death of his son. Or a woman might turn the lights off at night and then wake in the morning only to discover that she has neither been teleported to a magical kingdom, nor abducted by a serial killer. I do sort of wonder what the point in continuing on is, but I'm sure I'll find a way to make it through to the next fabulous Summer Blockbuster Season.

Suggestions, Mail, Love Letters, Death Threats, and Donations by way of Flooz! can be sent to:
[email protected]

--B. C. Edwards

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[email protected] | September 2002 | Issue 30
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